City of London Police is warning people to be on their guard following a number of incidents of mobile phone snatches in which the victim has been walking along the pavement with a phone in their hand, when a moped has mounted the pavement and the pillion passenger has grabbed the phone.
The majority of the thefts have taken place between 6 pm and 10 pm. Victims tend to be approached from behind while they have been holding their phone in their hand and using it in the street. Offenders, either on mopeds or pedal cycles, mount the pavement and snatch the phone – sometimes using force to knock the phone out of the victim’s hands or assaulting the victim to take it.
Inspector Claire Burgess, Community Policing for the City of London Policesaid:
“If you must use your phone when you’re out in the street, be aware of what’s going on around you. We are working hard to identify and catch those responsible but urge you to take some simple steps to help prevent your phone being stolen.”
If your phone has just been stolen and the suspect is still in the area call police on 999. If your phone has been stolen and the suspect is no longer in the area, report it by calling 101, the non-emergency police number.
Tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of phone snatching…
• Watch out for bikes and mopeds – especially if they mount the pavement – if they could grab your phone as they ride by, stop using it and put it away.
• When you leave a train or tube station don’t use your phone immediately, leave it a while, or walk into a shop to check it.
• Don’t text while you’re walking – you will be less aware of what is happening around you.
• If you can, stand with your back against a wall when using your phone so nobody can come up behind you.
• Be discreet when using your phone, don’t leave it on the table in bars and restaurants, and don’t leave your bags unattended.
• If you must use your phone in public, make it quick, to minimise the chance of you becoming distracted by the conversation and a thief spotting your phone.
• If your phone is stolen, call your service provider and quote your 15 digit IMEI number (or in some cases, the last 9 digits of your SIM card number). You can find your IMEI number by dialling *#06# from your phone. Using this information, your service provider will be able to isolate your phone so it cannot be used.
• Register your phone and other property at www.immobilise.com – it can help police return your property to you and catch thieves.
• Use the keypad lock facility on your phone when you are not using it – if it is stolen, at least the thief cannot immediately access your network.